Saturday, January 22, 2011

Muddled thinker

Dr Ben Spies-Butcher, one of the "thinkers" – no really, that's what they're called – at the Centre for Policy Development, a Leftist think tank, has a rambling 1,490 piece at The Drum Unleashed on the costs of population ageing, the point of which seems to be – it is difficult to be certain – that raising taxes is the simple and painless solution to the problems associated with an ageing population.

It's surprising that the highly educated, uber-intelligent Spies-Butcher, amongst whose esteemed colleagues are notable Lefty thinkers John Quiggin, Mark Bahnisch and former Policy Coordinator of the now defunct New Matilda Miriam Lyons, can produce an "analysis" piece containing this bit of fluff:
Sensible debate is too often muddled by a political commitment to small government that can lead to less transparent, less equitable and less efficient outcomes.
As if that from Spies-Butcher is sensible. And there's also this:
Raising taxes to pay for expanded public spending, particularly on health, the main component of the ageing budget, is widely supported.
The report Spies-Butcher links to does indicate that Australians want more spent on health but notes this contradiction:
While most respondents have a preference for increased spending on public services, 60% of them also think it is more important for the government to lower taxes for economic growth than to set taxes high enough for essential services.
So Spies-Butcher is less than honest in saying that Australians are happy to pay increased taxes for health care.

Also, the poorly written and woefully argued opinion piece is followed by this bit of Lefty tank tank promotional crapola:
At the start of a new year, thinkers from the Centre for Policy Development and contributors to their recent publication, More Than Luck: Ideas Australia needs now ask how might we expect the shrill tone of the national conversation to change? What policy resolutions might our elected representatives make for 2011? This series presents ideas for citizens who want to see fundamental changes to how the country is run and a to-do-list for politicians who want to look beyond the polls or the next election cycle to tackle the future before it tackles us.
As far as I can tell, the shrill demands for fundamental change emanate from the deep thinkers on the Left for whom government cannot be big enough.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to know what the editor(s?) of the Drum are actually supposed to be doing in their jobs.

Is it just to commission pieces for the site and whack them up there, or are they supposed to be exercising some sort of quality control?

So often you see pieces like this which are just wordy, incoherent, stream-of-consciousness rants that make little sense, other than of course making the usual cliched left-wing slurs about the topic du jour.

For any decent global publication (e.g. The Economist), these pieces would fall well short of an acceptable standard.

I wonder if the Drum's editor ever sends anything back to their authors and says "more work required"?

11:59 PM  
Blogger Minicapt said...

Perhaps the editor has not achieve the status of 'thinker' and thus lacks the authority to say 'no'.


2:18 PM  
Anonymous Adrian of Adelaide said...

The shrill tone of the thinkers at the Centre for Policy Development features again today at ABC’s The Drum. This time it’s health ‘thinker’ Jennifer Doggett doing her best to justify why those who pay the most in Medicare levy (not to mention private health insurance), should actually get the least in terms of any return.

To cut a long story short it apparently means the least productive in the community, who contribute zero to the health budget in the fist place, should get more benefit from it than anyone else – and certainly more than those who actually fund it.

According to Doggett’s logic, the very fact that one pays a larger amount in Medicare levy and private health insurance than ‘the vulnerable’ is enough to conclude you ‘don’t need assistance’. At best she’d provide you with a ‘Healthcare credit card’ to assist your poor budgeting skills and spread your costs over three years or so. Oh the joys of socialist medicine! I’m allowed to provide free health care for my local drug dealer, but have to budget over three years to pay my own.

Basically we should just shut up and get on with funding everyone else’s free ride. Not only that, but Jennifer would like to take back our private health insurance rebate. Think on Jennifer….

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Think on, thinky thinkers!

11:04 PM  

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